UK Overseas Travel Driven by Business & Family

The number of Brits visiting European countries has dropped by around 80% during the last four months as Covid-19 puts a hold on non-essential international travel, potentially making 2020 the year of the staycation.

According to Huq’s European Travel Indicator (GB Residents), which tracks the change in British residents present in countries across Europe, there has been very limited activity during lockdown and since measures have relaxed at the start of April. With the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still advising against all but non-essential travel, the main observable increases in travel have centred on Northern Europe and the UK’s closest neighbours.

Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany have received the greatest uplift in visits by British residents over the past four months – with traffic across the Netherlands reaching as much as 50% of previous levels. This is followed by Germany (37%), Belgium (26%) and France (26%). Spain, which is the most popular holiday destination for UK travellers has seen the lowest numbers of visitors, reaching just 17% of pre-lockdown levels.

While this data does not differentiate between transit through these countries or whether these countries represent the final destination, or indeed the purpose of the visit, it is clear that any activity has been centred on countries with high industrial and low tourism links to the UK. This suggests that the principal reasons for travel have been either for work, haulage or for family reasons such as are presently permitted.

Resorts operators across Mallorca, Benidorm and Costa Del Sol hoping to witness a spike in demand for international breaks may yet be disappointed. With record numbers of bookings for domestic breaks in the UK reported over the last week, is it already be too late for Mallorca’s seasonal trade to capture the valuable UK market as those summer crowds will already be safely installed in Margate?


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